[this is a version of a post which first appeared on my blog From the Front of the Choir]
A few weeks back I wrote about why people might not join choirs or attend singing workshops: 10 reasons why people don’t join choirs (but love to sing) and Why we don’t sing even though it makes us feel good.
I thought it’s about time I gave reasons why people do (and should) join choirs and go to singing workshops.
The OK Chorale, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK
There seem to be four main areas of benefit to singing in a group:
- social — singing is a community activity
- personal — singing creates a sense of achievement
- musical — singing together makes for a great sound
- well-being — singing is good for your health
1. Singing is a community activity
- you will make friends who have a shared interest
- working as a team — every contribution counts, but the team must pull together as one
- creating a community of like-minded people with a shared goal
- you will meet people from a range of different backgrounds
- and for you men out there: there are always far more women than men in mixed choirs!
2. Singing creates a sense of achievement
- when you finally nail a difficult song
- constantly improving your singing technique
- regularly developing your vocal skills
- learning new skills and languages
- remembering words and melodies
- being challenged by more difficult material
- performing in a concert in front of an audience
3. Singing together makes for a great sound
- being part of a big musical sound
- the pleasures of harmonising with others
- creating beautiful music together
- rehearsing to make a song sound really good
- getting positive feedback from audiences after working hard on a song
4. Singing is good for your health
- warm-ups improve the body’s flexibility, sense of rhythm, balance, self-awareness, etc.
- breathing techniques help to reduce stress and relax the body
- expressing yourself through sound helps to release emotional blockages
- being part of a group working together creates a sense of belonging, community and shared endeavour
- singing is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body
- singing has a positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being
- singing can increase lung capacity, improve posture, clear respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness through greater oxygenation
- singing promotes both a healthy heart and an enhanced mental state as well as improving your immune system — so you will live longer!
- recent Swedish research has shown that choral singing has strong effects on well-being, in that positive emotions increase significantly, and, in turn, negative emotions radically subside. Choral singers, particularly women, are happier, more alert and relaxed after a rehearsal.
I’m sure there are many more good reasons for joining a choir or attending a singing workshop.
Do let me know if you can think of any others.
Chris Rowbury: chrisrowbury.com